shall force through or fall all in our places. * * General, this is no new question with me I have never believed we could, against the gigantic combination for our subjugation, make good, in the long run, our independence, unless foreign powers should, directly or indirectly, assist us. This, I was sure, it was their interest to do, and I hoped they would so regard it. But such considerations really made with me no difference. We had, I was satisfied, sacred principles to maintain and rights to defend, for which we were in duty bound to do our best, even if we perished in the endeavor.' These were, as nearly as I can recall them, the exact words of Gen- eral Lee on that most critical occasion. You see in them the soul of the man. What his conscience dictated and his judgment de- cided, there his heart was.' "*
General Lee did not think proper to comply at once with the sug- gestion of his corps commanders, but on the night of the next day (the 7th) he received from General Grant the following communica- tion :
APRIL 7TH. General R. E. LEE, Commander C. S. A. :
SIR, The result of the last week must convince you of the utter hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood by ask- ing of you the surrender of that portion of the Confederate States Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S GRANT, Lieutenant- General, Commanding the Armies of the United States.
General Lee replied as follows :
GENERAL, I have received your note of this date. Though not entirely of the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and, therefore, before considering your proposi- tion, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender.
R. E. LEE, General. To Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Armies of the United States. General Grant rejoined :
- Jones's Reminiscences, page 297.